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May 28, 2017

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Prince Charles talks pidgin on pomp-filled Papua New Guinea tour

PORT MORESBY -- Britain's Prince Charles delighted locals in Papua New Guinea with a brief address in pidgin after inspecting a military parade on Sunday, as he and wife Camilla conduct a jubilee tour of the Pacific.

Charles, the heir to Queen Elizabeth II, was cheered by several thousand people as he introduced himself in Tok Pisin, the local patois, making his first speech since arriving on Saturday.

"Ladies and gentlemen, mi nambawan pikinini bilong misis kwin," said Charles, referencing his local title — "first child of Mrs. Queen."

"I bring you greetings from Her Majesty the Queen of Papua New Guinea and from all my family members during celebration of the diamond jubilee of the queen," he continued.

Dressed in the forest green uniform of the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment of which he is colonel-in-chief, Charles inspected an official military parade and presented the infantrymen with new colors.

The regiment was first established in World War II to fight the Japanese following their 1942 invasion of Papua New Guinea.

"I grew up with the stories of extraordinary courage ... which made possible the successes of the hard-fought campaign along the Kokoda Trail," Charles told the crowd in Port Moresby's Sir John Guise stadium, where the parade and an earlier open-air church service took place.

"So it was the proudest moment when I became your colonel-in-chief in 1984."

Charles first visited the desperately poor Pacific nation when living as a student in Australia in the 1960s, and said he had "never forgotten the profound impact of that visit."

"The importance of Papua New Guinean culture has remained with me ever since," he said, adding he had been humbled to learn "the drums (have) been beating for several days in anticipation of my arrival".

Music and color were the order of the day, with a choir of women in bright floral shirts and grass skirts welcoming the royal couple to Boera village where they were treated to a traditional hiri motu war dance.

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